StanChart expands Priority Banking
Standard Chartered, in addition to setting a target to recruit 100
relationship managers in its private banking business, has targeted
an 850-strong addition to its mass affluent Priority Banking
The bank plans to add the new relationship managers over the next
12-18 months, with 430 to be hired in Greater China and 120 in
StanChart’s plan comes after a relaunch of the service, aimed at
people with $100,000 in investable assets. It has launched
advertising campaigns in key markets including Hong Kong,
Singapore, India, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea and the UAE.
Competition for affluent clients is hotting up, particularly in the
Asia-Pacific region. HSBC Premier remains the benchmark, with 2.6
million customers worldwide and a target of 6 million by 2011. Citi
is also competitive in the segment with its Citigold service.
Regional Asia-Pacific retail banks have also made inroads, most
notably CITIC, through its CITICfirst programme (see Shifting the
300 UK banks told to hand over client
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the UK tax authority, has been
given authority to order over 300 banks to give details of
customers who hold offshore accounts.
The regulatory body can now issue the information notices to banks
ahead of the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO), which allows people
with unpaid taxes to settle their tax liabilities at a favourable
HMRC said it would use the information to ensure individuals were
paying appropriate amounts of tax.
Dave Hartnett, the HMRC’s permanent secretary for tax, said there
were some taxpayers that regretted not taking advantage of the
Offshore Disclosure Facility in 2007, which focused on the
customers of five large banks. He urged people with unpaid tax to
make a full disclosure during the NDO.
The NDO allows those with undeclared tax liabilities to take a 10
percent penalty on their assets. Those found to have undeclared tax
would face a penalty of 30 percent or higher, and also run the risk
of prosecution. Clients are being asked to disclose before 10 March
“It is wrong that some people evade paying their fair share of tax
by hiding assets in offshore accounts,” said Stephen Timms,
financial secretary to the Treasury.
“Today’s ruling represents real progress in creating a level
playing field for all taxpayers.”
UBS settles John Doe summons with US
UBS and the US government have reached an agreement to resolve a
legal dispute which had called for the bank to release details of
52,000 clients suspected of tax evasion.
Under the agreement, which had not been released when PBI went to
press, it was expected the bank would be asked to hand over details
of around 5,000 client accounts. If that was the case, it would be
seen as a blow to Swiss banking secrecy and could pave the way for
more litigation from angry clients.
Others saw it as an opportunity for UBS to recover its reputation
and for the Swiss government, which negotiated on its behalf with
the US on the issue, to sell its stake in the bank, valued at
around 9 percent.
UBS chairman Kaspar Villiger welcomed the agreement.
“The board of directors and management of UBS are grateful the two
governments reached this agreement to resolve the issue,” Villiger
“We thank the Swiss government and Swiss delegation that negotiated
this settlement for their outstanding efforts.”
The bank said it would not comment further on the matter until a
formal signing of the agreement.
MERGERS and ACQUISITIONS
ANZ, NAB step-up wealth business push
Australia’s domestic retail banks are building their wealth
businesses at home and abroad, as they continue to gain ground on
struggling international rivals.
This month, National Australia Bank paid $99 million for an 80.1
percent slice of the Goldman Sachs JBWere business in Australia and
New Zealand, while ANZ has secured some of Royal Bank of Scotland’s
assets in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.
NAB, Australia’s largest retail bank, said the JBWere business
would remain a centre of specialist expertise, focusing on
delivering advice-driven wealth solutions to high net worth
clients. It had 22,000 active client relationships and funds under
management of A$10 billion ($8.2 billion).
ANZ, which is aiming to build a super-regional presence in Asia,
did not disclose detailed information on wealth management assets
it had acquired. The bank is the second largest private bank in
Australia, according to PBI’s Australia survey (see PBI 245), with
around $18 billion in assets under management. It paid A$687
million for a mixture of assets including retail, wealth and
Religare bursts into the spotlight
Religare Macquarie is aiming to hire around 650 staff in India in
the next three years as it looks to rapidly expand its footprint in
The business is a joint venture between Australia investment bank
Macquarie and Religare, a domestic equity trading company which is
currently looking at buying ING’s Asian private banking
Religare Macquarie has 220 staff and is present in Delhi, Kolkata,
Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. Both Religare and
Macquarie intend to invest $20 million in the business over the
next two to three years.
The business has a three-pronged approach to wealth management,
according to a spokesman. It is focused on an advisory approach, a
unique service model it calls ‘Tripod’ offering and a product
offering which it claims is the widest in India.
Domestic players in India are becoming increasingly active in
tailoring wealth services to their clients. Stockbroker KARVY last
month launched a wealth management unit targeting clients with
INR2.5 million ($52,000) in assets under management.
MS-SB restricts sale of certain ETFs
Morgan Stanley-Smith Barney has placed restrictions on the sale of
leveraged, inverse and leveraged-inverse exchange traded funds as
concerns mount over the level of tracking error in the
Proactive selling of the products by advisers will not be allowed
in traditional brokerage accounts, the bank said. Customers who ask
for the products will be able to purchase them, but only subject to
enhanced oversight and review.
It added no purchases of the securities would be permitted in its
“Financial advisers have been encouraged to review existing
positions in these securities with clients to emphasise their
unique characteristics and risks,” a bank spokesman said.
In June, FINRA, the US securities regulator, said certain ETFs were
typically not suitable for retail investors who plan to hold them
for more than a day. It said this was a result of compounding, a
process which decays the overall return of an ETF relative to the
underlying asset it is designed to replicate.